About seven miles north of Lanai City is perhaps Hawaii’s ultimate “rock garden,” an awe-inspiring lunar-like setting that’s as shrouded in mystery as it is in stark beauty.
Keahikawelo, also known as Garden of the Gods is a visual wonder uniquely characterized by boulders of varying sizes, shapes and colors. Its appearance is simply unmatched in all the Hawaiian islands, and you won’t have to be a geology buff to appreciate the dramatic formations that litter the landscape.
Science will tell you that these formations are the result of thousands of years of erosion that created pinnacles and buttes in one remote canyon area. Just one look, however, and you’ll wonder whether each rock has been placed for some divine purpose.
One Island legend tells us that the rocks and boulders were dropped from the sky by the gods tending their gardens. Another ancient tale explains that the rocks house the spirits of ancient Hawaiian warriors. And still another legend says that the gods enjoyed creating art, and this spot on the island is where they made their favorite sculptures. They created powerful winds to literally sculpt each rock formation (perhaps explaining why there is no vegetation in the Garden of the Gods).
Need To Know
The best time to view the Garden of the Gods is during the early morning hours, when the sunlight casts eerie shadows against the boulders and bring out the rocks’ most dynamic colors. Bring your camera, but don’t do anything disrespectful like rearranging the rocks (would you tamper with artwork created by the Hawaiian gods?).
The Garden of the Gods is accessible via bicycle or four-wheel drive vehicle. The dirt road is well marked, but be sure to check accessibility beforehand, as rains may force temporary closures.